Targeting QKI-7 in vivo restores endothelial cell function in diabetes

Chunbo Yang, Magdalini Eleftheriadou, Sophia Kelaini, Thomas Morrison, Marta Vilà González, Rachel Caines, Nicola Edwards, Andrew Yacoub, Kevin Edgar, Arya Moez, Aleksandar Ivetic, Anna Zampetaki, Lingfang Zeng, Fiona L. Wilkinson, Noemi Lois, Alan W. Stitt, David J. Grieve, Andriana Margariti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Vascular endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction plays a key role in diabetic complications. This study discovers significant upregulation of Quaking-7 (QKI-7) in iPS cell-derived ECs when exposed to hyperglycemia, and in human iPS-ECs from diabetic patients. QKI-7 is also highly expressed in human coronary arterial ECs from diabetic donors, and on blood vessels from diabetic critical limb ischemia patients undergoing a lower-limb amputation. QKI-7 expression is tightly controlled by RNA splicing factors CUG-BP and hnRNPM through direct binding. QKI-7 upregulation is correlated with disrupted cell barrier, compromised angiogenesis and enhanced monocyte adhesion. RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) and mRNA-decay assays reveal that QKI-7 binds and promotes mRNA degradation of downstream targets CD144, Neuroligin 1 (NLGN1), and TNF-α-stimulated gene/protein 6 (TSG-6). When hindlimb ischemia is induced in diabetic mice and QKI-7 is knocked-down in vivo in ECs, reperfusion and blood flow recovery are markedly promoted. Manipulation of QKI-7 represents a promising strategy for the treatment of diabetic vascular complications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3812
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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